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Megacorps are bad for gaming; Sony, EA, Activision, MS, and their ilk
Topic Started: Oct 24 2006, 09:29 AM (4,806 Views)
sheath
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I have been, and remain, non-sequitur
Poor Sony, you thought you would rule the world and now the world doesn't love you anymore.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-02-10-sony-credit-downgraded-by-standard-and-poors

Sony credit downgraded by Standard and Poor's

Benchmark credit rating service Standard and Poor's has reduced Sony's rating from A- to BBB+, warning that only the unlikely event of an upturn in the next 6-12 months would save the rating from dropping further.

S&P's identified falling prices, falling demand and tough competition as the major factors affecting the company's chances of swift recovery.

"The outlook on the long-term corporate credit rating is negative," read a statement detailing the changes. "We base the downgrade on our view that severe circumstances in Sony's mainstay electronics businesses make a strong recovery in earnings unlikely.

"We base the negative outlook on the long-term corporate credit rating on our expectation that we could lower the ratings further if we see no meaningful sign of a recovery in Sony's earnings within six to 12 months."

Whilst the short-term forecast for Sony was bleak, based largely on the difficult conditions faced in the TV and smartphone markets, S&P's do see the company recovering long-term.

"Because of continuing net losses since fiscal 2008, Sony's profitability looks significantly weaker than that of its global industry peers. In addition, we believe its ratio of adjusted debt to EBITDA is likely to remain high for the next one to two years, even for companies in the 'BBB' category. Standard & Poor's also believes Sony's adjusted total debt to capital (excluding finance operations) will rise to around 40% as of March 31, 2012, from 35% a year earlier.

"However, we base our one-notch downgrade on our view that Sony's profitability and financial standing will gradually recover in fiscal 2012 because there will be no repeat of one-off expenses due to floods in Thailand and impairment losses on stockholdings. Also, we believe Sony's strong short-term liquidity (excluding finance operations) continues to support its financial stability."

In its last financial report, Sony predicted losses of ¥220 billion for the year.
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Belpowerslave
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...makes you wonder how much worse things will get when they release the Vita here in the states. After fucking *every* PSP owner in the ass by removing that PSP Game Transfer option that Japan got, I can see it getting a pretty hostile welcoming.

Bel
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sheath
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They really do seem to be a different company since they ousted Ken Kutaragi. Now Howard Stringer is out too and Kaz Hirai is going to be in charge. I suspect they are going to be a much more conservative profit oriented company in the future.

That means no more global megalomaniac domination schemes already, and they have been pretty good about not claiming their systems will jack you into the matrix with the same interface as the movie, or render individual grains of wood in a door, for almost a decade now.
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sheath
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Classy

http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/13/10394035-sony-hikes-whitney-houston-album-prices-online?chromedomain=digitallife

Quote:
 
By Athima Chansanchai

UPDATE: Comments added from Tom Dolan, CEO of CDQuest.com.

It's easy to get so emotional about a singer after they've passed prematurely, as Whitney Houston did Saturday at the age of 48. But fans seeking to buy her digital albums in remembrance weren't too happy at sudden price hikes so soon after her death.

The Brits picked up on it quickly, with London-based Next Web writer Matt Brian and The Guardian's Josh Halliday both finding the price increases, which raised Houston's "The Ultimate Collection" 2007 album from £5 (about $7.89) to £8 (about $12.63). In the United States, the cost is even steeper: $15 for the "Greatest Hits" collection at both Amazon (mp3 store) and iTunes.
Live Poll

Halliday found out that Sony Music increased the price of "The Ultimate Collection" at about 4 a.m. Sunday, not even 12 hours after news broke of Houston's death. Fans were quick to point fingers at Apple for the anti-sale, but it turned out that when Sony bumped up the wholesale price of "The Ultimate Collection," iTunes and other retailers automatically upped their pricing.

We've reached out to Sony for comment and will update if/when we hear from them.

Digital Spy found consumers who said the price change happened even more quickly: 30 minutes for it to jump from $4.74 to $12.62, which prompted one buyer to fume, "The album itself is great so please don't be put off purchasing it, just [realize] that you will merely be lining some fatcat's pocket before Whitney's lifeless body is cold."

But Tom Dolan, CEO of CDQuest.com, wrote to tell us this goes against his experience with Sony.

"The costs to the retailer on each of the titles that you mention in your article have not changed at all. So if the cost of the product hasn't changed, then the actual culprit for the price increases would be the retailer and not Sony," Dolan wrote.

Houston's "iTunes Essentials" album is even more expensive at $18.45 for 15 songs (vs. 36 songs for $14.99 on the "Greatest Hits" album, which was originally released in 2000).

Over at Google Music, you can't find those albums, but there are a smattering of free singles, including "Greatest Love of All" and "So Emotional."

Meanwhile, at Walmart, things are just plain fishy. Though the retail giant has exited the music download business, it is still a massive CD retailer. While the pricing of Whitney's CDs hasn't changed, every single one is listed as 'out of stock online.' Could that really be because of a surge in buying? Or is there a price change afoot?

Dolan told us his thoughts on this:

Hardly any websites maintain very much stock and this all points back to distributors warehouses. So as popular as Whitney may seem, just days after her death, most distributors were only carrying <30 copies on almost all of her CDs, because she just wasn't selling. All of her rabid fans owned everything and there were no converts to her in recent years. Even at the distributor level, I can see the stock level histories and it looks like they were selling maybe 1 or 2 copies a day and that is at the distributor level. People have this misconception that labels sit on hundreds of thousands of copies of albums like this, but the reality is that this was pretty deep, slow moving catalog until she died. Then when somebody dies, every Joe Blow comes out of the woodwork saying how important an artist was and people suddenly buy up all the stock and in the internet age, that can sell out in an hour. It is as simple as that...

When somebody dies unexpectedly, especially an artist that was huge about twenty years ago but barely trickled in sales in recent years, nobody has stock on hand to meet the demand, not even the label, not the distributors and not the retailers, from small independents all the way up to Walmart. Up until the moment of her death, it would have been completely irresponsible for any music buyer to have been sitting on a lot of WH CD stock.

As of this morning, three of Houston's singles were in the top 10 singles chart at iTunes, including the No. 1 "I Will Always Love You," which was also sung in tribute by Jennifer Hudson at last night's Grammy awards. Houston's "Greatest Hits" album was No. 2 on the iTunes albums chart, runner-up to only Adele, who swept the Grammy awards with hits from her "21" album.

By the end of the week, Houston's sales could even surpass her.

Take our poll and let us know if you bought Houston's music, despite the price hikes.


And in other news...
Edited by sheath, Feb 13 2012, 06:02 PM.
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sheath
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I'll just quote the good part.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2011/12/14/thailand-floods-send-hard-drive-prices-soaring/suB0pqJADEMYtbepUgBVpM/story.html

"The price surge has hammered revenues at California-based Intel Corp., which makes processor chips that drive 80 percent of the world’s laptop and desktop computers.

Intel, which has a chip factory in Hudson, predicted on Monday that fourth-quarter revenue would miss expectations by $1 billion because the lack of hard drives would lead to a drop in PC sales. "
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sheath
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It's the Playstation FOUR!

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/multimedia/display/20120328153153_Sony_PlayStation_4_to_Drop_Compatibility_with_PlayStation_3_Used_Games_Report.html

Sony Computer Entertainment’s next-generation video game system is reportedly code-named Orbis and is projected to be very powerful. But the new console, which is expected to be out in 2013, will not play currently available games and will lose compatibility with used games in general.

Based on what is currently known about the PlayStation 4 is that it is based on a microprocessor and a graphics processing unit (GPU) designed by Advanced Micro Devices. Apparently, those chips will be powerful enough to support video games in 4096*2160 (4K) resolution and video games in stereo-3D mode in 1920*1080 (1080p) resolution, according to a report from Kotaku web-site.

Since there are not a lot of 4K screens at the moment, the next-generation PlayStation “Orbis” appears to be intended for games that will shine starting from several years down the road. Apparently, the PlayStation 4 may be an even more ambitious endeavor than the PlayStation 3 in case of capabilities. But at the same time it is expected that its development will not be as expensive as that of the PS3.

But the PS3 will have a number of compromises: it will not be compatible with PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3 titles and it will not be exactly friendly with pre-owned/used games. Apparently, each particular Blu-ray game disc will be tied to a particular PSN account. A good thing is that if a disc becomes obsolete, the system should allow digital download, which means that it will sport a pretty large hard drive.

An indirect confirmation to the fact that Orbis game console from Sony does exist in plans is that SCE’s developer web-site already knows the name and orbis.scedev.net leads to the front-page of the SCE DevNet web-site, something that does not happen in case of a random name.

It is presently expected that the PlayStation 4 “Orbis” is on track for release for the holiday season in late 2013.

Sony Computer Entertainment did not comment on the news-story.
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Belpowerslave
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http://www.gametrailers.com/side-mission/2012/04/02/ea-makes-it-to-final-round-of-worst-company-in-america-competition/

Let's put our vote in now...

Bel
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sheath
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Yeah, Electronic Arts is solely responsible for the last ten years of ever increasing megapublisher nonsense. The NFL exclusivity contract was just the biggest most obvious sign. I really blame gamers for this eventuality. For me, a vote between Bank of America and Electronic Arts is like a vote between the average American Presidential candidate and Joseph Stalin.

-edit-

I just read the consumerist article. I am continually surprised that nobody knows about EA's NFL contract, when did they first make that, 2004? Cripes it just blows my mind how little attention that grabbed, it put two or three of the biggest software developers directly out of their biggest revenue stream, and nobody knows about it. It's a wonderful world.
Edited by sheath, Apr 2 2012, 09:09 PM.
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sheath
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http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-04-04-ea-responds-to-worst-company-label-from-consumerist

EA this week was selected by more than 250,000 votes on The Consumerist as the "worst company in America for 2012." EA has just provided GamesIndustry International with a response to this "Golden Poo Award."

"We're sure that bank presidents, oil, tobacco and weapons companies are all relieved they weren't on the list this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide," said John Reseburg in EA Corporate Communications.

EA earned 64 percent of the vote in the final round, going up against Bank of America. The Consumerist commented, "Readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA, which is supposed to be making the world a more fun place, is worse than Bank of America's avarice, which some would argue is the entire point of operating a bank."

"To those who might sneer at something as 'non-essential' as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It's that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death."

Frankly, this whole vote on The Consumerist appears rather ridiculous on its face. Forbes summarized it best:

"The plights of the gaming industry simply don't compare with BofA's actions resulting in people literally losing their homes and savings... EA is widely loathed, and they've brought that reputation down on their own heads, but they're loathed for reasons that pale in comparison to basically any of the big mortgage companies and banks involved in the housing crisis and financial collapse."

EA may not be liked by some, but it's worth noting that the company has been very progressive in its support of LGBT content, offering players of its BioWare games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic the option to engage in same-sex relationships. The publisher has been the target of an anti-gay campaign from Christian fundamentalists as a result.
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Belpowerslave
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You know what kills me about all this complaining that EA beat out BofA? They blatantly ignore the NFL license thing. I mean, that is a *real, working legal monopoly* and no one seems to care. I would have thought that, at least once, someone would have mentioned it on all these sites that are commenting. I mean, "nickel and dime-ing" people to death is one thing, and you don't have to pay for the stuff if you don't want it...but when it comes to the NFL, there's no choice, you are forced to play Madden if you want the licensed teams and players. Wears me out to no end...

Bel
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http://news.yahoo.com/sony-sees-record-6-4-billion-net-loss-065821766.html

"Sony sees record $6.4 billion loss on tax hit"

"TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sony Corp flagged a record $6.4 billion annual net loss, double an earlier forecast and a fourth straight year of red ink, as it writes off deferred tax credits, heaping more pressure on its new CEO to turn around the electronics giant.

Sony, which plans to axe 10,000 jobs - around 6 percent of its global workforce - according to media reports this week, has been hammered by weak demand for its televisions and overtaken by more innovative gadget rivals such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics."

...no wonder they are launching the PS4 so much earlier than expected. They've gotta get something out there that people will actually flock to buy. I don't think the Vita is doing as well as they had hoped...

Bel
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Belpowerslave
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http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/04/keiji-inafune-qa/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Gamelife+%28Blog+-+Game|Life%29

Here we go!

"Q&A: Mega Man Creator Wants Japan to Admit Failure"

"“Man, Japan is over. We’re done. Our game industry is finished,” said Inafune..."

Bel
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sheath
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Yup, and that quote was from 2009, last year Inafune described Capcom's policy of "nothing but sequels." Similarly, Yu Suzuki explained why he left Sega in 2004 because they simply would not allow anything new to be made.

We've been bitching about this for longer than that and look what we have, a forum with three or four posters. The crash happened when this forum slowed down. Forget that, the crash happened when Sega went third party and all but their most popular franchises flopped just because of the enormous sea of licensed crap that was already on the shelves.

I'd say we let this happen, but we fought this tooth and nail for no benefit of our own. The game industry leached and drained the masses until they moved on, and now we have a few huge sequel factories who badly re-release the games that made them big in the first place.

If touch screen phones weren't such bad gaming devices for action games, I'd love to just move onto them. Really though, I don't think anybody is ever going to top what has already been made, 2D, 3D or otherwise.
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Well, and I know this is the *last* thing you're going to want to hear, but if you're really serious about moving over phones for gaming, you really ought to consider one of those X-peria phone models. They've got a slideout controller, are damn powerful and people rave about the gaming on them. With the Android Market, plus virtually every emulator on the market being available for Android OS it could very well remove any need for a handheld gaming system. I mean, just with that LG Optmius Slider that I have, I haven't really touched the 3DS or GBA in a good while, and I'm playing through various RPGs I'd *never* have the time to play through otherwise.

I mean, dude, look at some of these fucking games!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vectorunit.green&feature=top-paid#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDIwNiwiY29tLnZlY3RvcnVuaXQuZ3JlZW4iXQ..

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vectorunit.blue&feature=top-paid#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDIwNiwiY29tLnZlY3RvcnVuaXQuYmx1ZSJd

Some of those motherfuckers even run in 3D mode, via the HDMI port out to your HDTV or monitor!

Then, you've got all these emulators:

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=emulator&c=apps

Fucking MSX emulator...who would even bother...yet, there it is!

I'm having a blast with that "MD.emu" Genesis, SMS and Sega CD emulator(we're hoping for GG support at some point too, as SCD was just added). Playing through Shining Force right now, and even managed my way through QuackShot(it was my test rom just to see the quality of the emulation, ended up playing all the way through it). I will admit that playing any sort of action game with the keyboard just doesn't pan out, but RPGs and slower adventure games are fine. With that X-Peria, you'd have a full controller or even an analog stick! Plus, get this: Any Bluetooth controller device, like the Wii-mote, can be used to play games on your phone if the emu supports it(most do)!

Think about that, you could get one of those ultra-powerful X-Peria phones and use it at your mobile gaming device, then plug it in to the TV when you get home and use it for a fucking emu box! I would loved to of gotten one, but I just don't have the money for it right now, nor did I want to go with anyone that was going to lock me in a contract.

Bel
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sheath
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I still need to give that android Genesis emu a shot. I'm really not that into portable gaming, and I like finishing games in digital format even less. But it could be cool to have for whenever I'm on the road or whatever.
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http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/plugged-in/why-end-60-video-game-near-181412574.html

Why the end of the $60 video game is near

Would be nice...

Bel
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sheath
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I'm going to enjoy every minute as the market shifts away from these wanna-be hollywood games toward casual portable games that cost nothing. Every time some "core" gamer whines about it I'm going to remind them of what they did to Action gaming when they flooded to a DVD player with mediocre gaming capabilities.
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http://news.yahoo.com/nintendos-hard-choices-soft-landing-184358644.html

"Nintendo's hard choices for a soft landing"

The two best parts:

"Any drastic strategy shift that would dispatch the Mario brothers into the realm of Android and Apple's iOS operating system would likely require a change at the top of Nintendo, said Macquarie's Gibson. And that likely won't happen for a couple of years until the Wii U is shown to be a clear failure, he added."

"...until the Wii U is shown to be a clear failure", that cracks me up to no end. I like to picture The Architect from The Matrix Reloaded saying it...;)

"Unlike money-losing Sony, where time is running out to counter the pounding it's getting from Apple and South Korea's Samsung Electronics, Nintendo, sitting on oodles of cash it made selling the Wii - about $14 billion - at least has time to mull its choices."

"...money-loosing Sony", too good.

Bel
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sheath
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Here's a good one. Even though most consumers have and continue to argue that megacorps are not bad for gaming, it's been a problem from the beginning of consumer products.

http://brainz.org/12-format-war-losers/?utm_source=scribol.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=scribol.com

If this were going to properly include the piano, it would have discussed how acoustic guitars replaced the piano in the classical era, because they were cheaper, not because they sounded better.
Edited by sheath, Apr 27 2012, 06:13 PM.
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sheath
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Irony abounds in this old Macintosh commercial.

Edited by sheath, Apr 29 2012, 10:25 PM.
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